Editor: The stench of politics of personal destruction has crossed the Potomac and come to Leesburg.
After living in Great Falls for 25 years, my husband and I moved to Leesburg a few months ago, drawn by its historic charm and many amenities. We may be new to Leesburg, but I have known many of its elected officials for years. And frankly, they factored into our decision to relocate to Loudoun County.
Over the years, I have been in social settings with many of them and they always maintained the highest integrity in representing their constituents. I have long appreciated their commitment to public service and to making Leesburg and Loudoun County the best place to live and work. These are the standards on which I judge elected officials. And, it is because of many of these leaders that I hoped that I would be leaving the politics of personal destruction inside the Beltway.
In recent days, though, it has become apparent that the politics of personal destruction is alive and doing damage in Leesburg. Now I‘m not naïve; I have spent 40 years working in politics and I know that not all politicians have the same motivations. But, I had to step forward when I learned that people like councilmembers Ron Campbell and Joshua Thiel began gossiping and calling leaders in the community spreading gossip and untruths about Mayor Burk.
While my disappointment in my newly adopted town is discouraging, I am proud of Mayor Burk for refusing to cower to these ridiculous and politically motivated personal attacks. I challenge any woman who is reading this to say they have never caught their heel in a sidewalk and stumbled! And, I have newfound respect for someone I had not yet met, Councilman Tom Dunn. Even though Mr. Dunn is running against Ms. Burk for Mayor, he has the integrity to stand up and say “for me this is a new in Leesburg politics … much of this has been based on hearsay and no real proof to the issue. Frankly, I think it is more generated by politics.”
I suppose I should just give Councilmen Thiel and Campbell a pass as they have never walked in a woman’s shoes and probably can’t appreciate how their gossip and innuendo erodes their credibility and integrity.
Instead, I will issue a challenge to both: spend a day in a working-woman’s shoes—literally. I will provide each with a pair of shoes similar to those Mayor Burk was wearing on the evening they claim to know so much about despite the fact that neither was present. All they need to do is wear them for an entire day of work and campaigning. Sadly, I doubt they will take me up on my offer because they might be afraid of what they will learn about themselves.
Susan Smocer Platt, Leesburg